ChurrosOne of my favourite things to do in a new country is try out the new and exotic foods on offer, and it’s also a great way into the local language. Here in Spain I’ve been eating a lot of delicious tortilla, paella and churros, for example.

Most of the Spanish I’ve picked up has been from reading menus and ordering in restaurants. Hunger is a great motivator!

A language school in Montreal, Canada is taking this one step further, holding classes in local restaurants so students can experience both culture and cuisine along with their chosen language. In such a relaxed setting, it’s easy to pick up new words and you may feel more free to make mistakes.

You don’t even need to be in a different country to try out this idea; just pick up your phone book and find some local ethnic restaurants. The staff may be a little surprised at first, but explain your enthusiasm for learning and they may become a great teacher!

Just be careful what you order – I recently asked for jibia in a restaurant (the innocuous sounding cuttlefish), and got quite a shock when I saw the tentacles!

(Side note: if you’re interested in Spanish dining and cuisine, click on the picture.)